Howard the Duck sees a revival of everybody’s favorite cynical duck, brought to us by Sex Criminals‘ Chip Zdarsky. Is it good?
Howard the Duck #1 (Marvel Comics)
Actually following up from a joke at the ending of the recent She-Hulk series, Howard the Duck is currently working as a private detective nowadays. According to him, it’s more for a change of pace and to do something new. Anyhow, the new big case is an interesting one in that it puts him up against Black Cat of all people. Oh, what fun awaits this duck?
To be fair, this is the Marvel universe. It is quite possible to see stranger stuff.
The first issue is definitely good. It’s not the best new series I’ve seen from Marvel recently and it feels quite a bit similar to a lot of their more indie-ish titles, but it’s definitely not a bad start to this series. First things first, it’s a solid introduction to Howard as a character. You get all the important details of his backstory in this issue, what kind of person duck he is, where he’s currently at in life, and where is at with the superhero community. It’s a perfect way to introduce him to newcomers and I’m sure longtime fans will enjoy this outing as well.
Besides introducing the audience to the character, it tells a pretty complete story from start to finish based around Howard’s attempt to help a client. It introduces some side characters fairly well and gives you a good idea of what kind of people they are. The issue also ends off on a good hook that could provide a lot of fun in the next issue. Honestly, there are no real complaints to be had here for an opening issue.
Chip Zdarsky’s writing here is pretty solid, too. The pacing isn’t bad and neither is the story structure, and the characterization is good and does reflect the characters pretty well. The tone has the very familiar indie feeling we’ve been seeing with a lot of Marvel titles (the loser character who doesn’t get the respect he deserves or makes trouble for him or herself) like Hawkeye and Ant-Man, so feels a bit overdone here with no real twist to it yet. The dialogue and narration are good as well; however, the big thing people will be wondering about is the comedy given the creative team on the book. It’s is good for the most part and hits more than it misses. There’s not a lot here that will make you laugh out loud and a couple of jokes are obvious, but there’s certain material here that will make you chuckle or at least crack a smile.
The artwork by Joe Quinones is pretty good as well. The layouts are well strung together and help a lot with setting up some of the punchlines and gags. The characters are drawn pretty well (seeing She-Hulk here makes me wish Joe drew her series)—very expressive and really full of life, with Howard looking the best and having the best reactions. Combined with the beautiful coloring by Rico Renzi, the artwork really matches the tone and feel the comic is going for here. If Quinones can keep on drawing this series every month, I could easily see this becoming one of the best looking Marvel books they have.
I dunno. She-Hulk doesn’t strike me as Taylor Swift fan.
Is It Good?
Howard the Duck #1 is a pretty solid start for this new series. It’s a good introduction to the character, the writing is pretty solid, the comedy works, and the artwork looks great. This might be one of the better non-flagship titles that Marvel has made in a long while, so keep your eye on this one.